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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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  • Keeping the Uyghur Culture Alive in Exile

    03/03/2021. RUTH INGRAM BITTER WINTER MAGAZINE Non-Chinese culture is repressed or reduced to a tourist attraction in Xinjiang. But exile and sorrow have produced a flurry of poetry and creativity among the diaspora. by Ruth Ingram A #MeTooUyghur campaign organized by the anonymous @SuluArtco activist collective, set up to raise awareness about disappearing Uyghur intellectuals. Strange bedfellows; tear gas and poets, tasers and writers, electric cattle prods, handcuffs and artists; folklorists and pepper spray. But when orders come down from the top to break Uyghur lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins, and CCP procurement figures for a secret network of transformation through education camps include instruments of torture, the pieces of the puzzle start to make sense. No one willingly walks into the annihilation of their culture. Unreasonable force will be part of the deal. Not content with rounding up so-called “holy warriors,” “splittists” and “the politically dangerous” for Beijing’s euphemistically named “vocational training” program, more than 400 academics have also been dragged into the black hole of internment and the disappeared since the start of a program of cultural annihilation, which began in 2017. Unlike most Uyghurs who were corralled into 24/7 Chinese language classes and political indoctrination, these university professors, writers, poets, singers, and dancers are fluent Mandarin speakers and often loyal Party members. Accused of being two-faced traitors and half-hearted supporters of the regime, these intellectuals’ only crime is their love for Uyghur history and culture, and their desire to see their nation flourish. They have all without exception vanished, and with them a vital bridge to the intangible cultural heritage they embody. Uyghur writers, poets, and academics gathered online last week to commemorate UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day and the 100-year anniversary of PEN International, a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 to promote literature and defend […]

     
  • Qurban Mamut, a retired Uyghur editor held incommunicado in China

    Published by Uyghur PEN on 15th February 2021 Qurban Mamut, a 70 years old poet, prominent journalist, and retired editor for an Uyghur language magazine the “Xinjiang Civilization”, was held in incommunicado by Chinese authority since February 2018, according to his son Bahram Qurban, who said the arrest is being used as leverage against him because he is living in exile in the U.S.  Bahram said to the Radio Free Asia on 18 October 2018 “My father never committed any crime, but the authorities regularly arrest people who have relatives living abroad [to gain leverage over them]. I believe that is why he was arrested. While it isn’t my fault, I feel that I am the reason for his arrest.”[1] After Qurban Mamut stayed incommunicado at the “Re-education Camp’ for more than three years, his son’s tirelessly campaigned and searched about his father. Finally, one Han Chinese staffer at the Xinjiang Hall of Public Culture told Bahram that she knew his father’s detainment.[2] He worked as a reporter and editor at Xinjiang Radio Station from 1976 to 1984, and Vice Editor-in-Chief at one of the most well-known magazines, Xinjiang Civilization, from 1985 to 2011. He was never a member of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2011, he retired at age 61. After he retired, he worked part-time as a requested Editor-in-Chief at Xinjiang Science Publishing house. In his more than 40 year career, he made tremendous contributions to Uyghur journalism and culture. Qurban Mamut ((库尔班 ·⻢木提), he visited his son Bahram Qurban[3] in the US in February 2017. His son, a U.S. citizen, believes that having relatives outside China is the reason behind his father’s detention. A source told him in September 2018 that Qurban Mamut had been sent to a “transformation-through-education” facility. Given his age and lack of information about his condition, there are severe concerns for […]

     
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  • Xinjiang Authorities Detain Prominent Uyghur Journalist in Political ‘Re-Education Camp’

    RFA News 2018-10-18 Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are holding a prominent Uyghur journalist and poet in a political “re-education camp,” according to his son, who said the arrest is being used as leverage against him because he is living in exile in the U.S. Bahram Qurban, the son of former editor-in-chief of the official Xinjiang Cultural Journal Qurban Mamut, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that his parents visited him for a month in the U.S. beginning in February 2017, marking the first time the three had seen each other in more than nine years. After the couple returned home to the XUAR, 68-year-old Mamut went missing, and Qurban said that he later learned that his father had been taken to one of a network of re-education camps in the region, where Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have since April 2017 been detained without legal process. “I inquired about him and learned that he had been arrested,” he said. “He never committed any crime, but the authorities regularly arrest people who have relatives living abroad [to gain leverage over them]. I believe that is why he was arrested. While it isn’t my fault, I feel that I am the reason for his arrest.” Qurban said he believes his father was “arrested in February this year,” adding that by incarcerating Mamut, Chinese authorities had acted in violation “not only of international law, but of their own constitution.” Meanwhile, he said, his 66-year-old mother Aynisa Yaqup had been admitted to the hospital because her heart condition had worsened after Mamut’s arrest, and he had lost contact with his elder sister, 38-year-old Dilare Qurban. “For an elderly retired couple, this is an unimaginable assault,” Qurban said. “My father has always been a very career-driven […]

     
  • Omerjan Hasan was arrested in April 2016 and his fate is unknown

    Published by Uyghur PEN on 11th February 2021 Omerjan Hasan, a well-known Uyghur writer, journalist, and webmaster. He was arrested in April 2016 by Aksu Police. Since then, his situation is unknown.[1] He born in February 1965 (ethnicity Uyghur, male, Chinese citizen; name in Chinese: Wumei’erjiang Aishan -吾买尔江.艾山, in Uyghur: Omerjan Hasan). He was formerly employed as a translator and vice director of the Forestry section of the Aksu Prefecture Forestry Department. The Radio Free Asia first reported about his arrest in July 2016.[2] Since his arrest, his family and friends had not been informed of his whereabouts, and there was no announcement of official charges against him.  According to the Radio Free Asia Cantonese news report and interview on 1st June 2016, an official announcement was published on the Aksu Prefectural Communist Party Disciplinary Committee website. The announcement said: “Omerjan Hasan had been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because he had published articles which promoted an incorrect impression of the history of Xinjiang, endangering national and ethnic unity, and damaging the image of the CCP.”  Soon after this news was published on the Aksu government website, it spread to international news media, and the announcement was quickly removed. Subsequently the Radio Free Asia Uyghur Service conducted a telephone interview in Aksu covering Omerjan Hasan’s arrest. [3] Omerjan Hasan wrote and published many books and articles which aimed to promote equal civil and political rights for Uyghurs in China. He was well known to the Uyghur community by his pen name “Bozqir” (aka: Omerjan Hasan Bozqir). He also had a good reputation in the wider Chinese-speaking sphere for his Chinese language articles. He was owner and webmaster of a Uyghur language website and discussion forum named “bozqir” (http://bbs.bozqir.com.cn/forum.php).  His website was blocked soon after his arrest.[4] He was accused of publishing “incorrect articles” about the history of Xinjiang, and […]

     
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  • Perhat Tursun, Uyghur poet and writer sentenced for 16 years imprisonment

     
  • New episode of PEN International’s Creative Witnesses premiered in solidarity with writers at risk in the Asia/Pacific Region

     
  • Prominent Uyghur Poet and Author Confirmed to Have Died While Imprisoned

     
  • How to sustain Uyghur culture in the diaspora?

     
  • ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs

     
  • Free Yalqun Rozi